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Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable and preventable disease, however, it is one of the most significant infectious causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide and is the number one cause of death among those infected with HIV. TB occurs across the world. In 2019, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the WHO South-East Asian region, with 44% of new cases, followed by the WHO African region, with 25% of new cases and the WHO Western Pacific with 18%. The primary purpose of the FEND for TB Consortium is to evaluate early stage diagnostics and novel diagnostic strategies for tuberculosis in the context of existing clinical algorithms in TB endemic countries. 

Lack of diagnosis and delayed diagnosis remain critical obstacles to controlling tuberculosis and improving individual and public health. An estimated one-third of all tuberculosis cases are missed, i.e. not diagnosed or not reported. Undetected TB and late detection of TB increases the risk of transmitting the disease to others, poor health outcomes, and distress/economic hardship due to illness. While there have been important advances in tuberculosis diagnostics over the last decade, specifically in sputum, there are important limitations. These include poor feasibility in people who cannot expectorate, irrelevance in those who only have extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (TB in sites other than the lungs), irrelevance in those who have latent infection, and biohazards associated with specimen collection. Much work remains to develop the diagnostics needed for early detection of exposure and drug resistance.

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To support evaluation of early stage TB diagnostics & novel diagnostic strategies in the context of existing clinical algorithms in TB endemic countries.

FEND for TB will perform proof-of-principle studies of novel diagnostics & strategies and provide feedback to diagnostic developers on the performance of the technologies and their most effective use in endemic settings.